Birth is transformative; it is both subtle and intense. At Mama Bamba we recognise that parents and the incoming babies are emotionally, physically and spiritually wide open. Our vision is to support parents and babies to feel safe, supported, loved and seen on a soul level during pregnancy, labour, birth and in the weeks of adaptation after birth.
Our mission is to recognise the need of women, their partners and their babies to be seen on a soul level during birth. They deserve to be honoured, respected and validated. They deserve to be reminded how to trust in their own birthing wisdom. They have a right to be loved, to be cared for and to be listened to.
Mama Bamba was founded by Robyn Sheldon together with two friends, Kate Spreckley and Sarah Heinamann in 2005. Mama Bamba means ‘Mother Embrace’ in isiXhosa, isiZulu and Swahili. The name came to Sarah and Robyn over coffee in the Olympia Café in Kalk Bay. It resonated with the concept of supporting women to develop enough inner strength and power to fully embrace their babies. And it held great appeal for the two of them because it is the way of women to to support one another so that their children may thrive.
A couple of years later Sarah left to focus on her third pregnancy and Kate became more involved in her practice of offering the spiritual guidance that is still her work today. Soon thereafter Justine Evans lent her powerful, supportive energy to Mama Bamba for a couple of years. All three of them offered unstinting generosity, love and wisdom whilst they were part of Mama Bamba.
In 2008 Robyn wrote the Mama Bamba Way – inner pathways to the power and pleasure of natural birth. She wanted to share her birthing philosophy and found writing was a delightful way to spend the day.
Mama Bamba grew and became a movement that recognises that when we are pregnant, birthing, breastfeeding and raising babies we need love, support, truthfulness and a recognition of the sacred nature of this work. When we do that our children can remain as wholehearted as they were on arrival in this world.
Amy Mongie, who had been training doulas for Mama Bamba (together with Angela Morton and Tertia Alkema) became Robyn’s business partner in 2021. She brings gentleness, strength, organisation and a wonderfully clear vision for Mama Bamba as a flourishing support system for parents.
The beautiful Souls behind Mama Bamba
After training in soul Integration in 1994 I recognised that many people carry a deep sense of disconnection from not being warmly welcomed as precious souls at birth and in their first months of life. I decided that I wanted to help babies have trauma free births. So I studied midwifery and after completing my training at a mission hospital in Botswana, in 2004 I moved to Cape Town and started Mama Bamba.
Mama Bamba grew steadily and as it did so my own interests developed more in the areas of soul exploration and soul integration. It felt like I was not only helping babies birth in trauma free environments but I was helping people to birth an expanded form of consciousness into their own worlds.
I was still working with pregnant parents teaching antenatal classes to assist parents to create sacred and meaningful births for themselves and their babies. Gradually though I shifted my focus a little more towards the unborn baby soul connection because it is such powerful work. This meant that I eventually gave up practising midwifery. The meditation I’d been practising for thirty years as the foundation of all my other work, led me to train doulas, then train soulas – soul doulas (who support others through birth, death or any transitional period in life) and also to create training programmes in Soul Integration facilitation and courses about connecting to our divine inner wisdom.
In between times I coached medical students in compassionate care, and co-founded the Compassionate Birth Project, which we designed to reduce high levels of midwife stress and subsequent obstetric abuse in maternity wards.
I love my work. Except for the admin, it just feels like play; powerful transformative play. I can’t wait to share it with you because I am inspired by the journeys I am led on through your processes and I get a kick out of the wisdom that emerges through your connections to your own divinity.
Perhaps the most common feedback we get at Mama Bamba is that so many of you feel seen and deeply heard through the process of coming into your own sacred power.
And that is really what Mama Bamba is all about for all of us who work there. It’s a place for story-telling and open-heartedness and it’s a place that encourages a willingness to look at our fears about birth and babies and life. It is a place for laughing and for preparing for birth in the best possible way. It is a place that recognises that birth is more than a physiological event and that is has the potential to blow our hearts wide open.
May they stay that way, may your willingness to expand into the Great Mystery of life continue and may Mother Earth be nourished by it and nourish you in return.
“Trust yourself then you will know how to live.”
As a birth doula, I accompany women on their journey through pregnancy, labour and birth. My role is to be a guide, a friend, a safe space and a source of unconditional support. My goal is to gently guide my clients to a place of deep connection to and understanding of their birthing body. A place where deep relaxation becomes a familiar friend, where they feel empowered with the knowledge of with and support their body through their breath. A place that is free of fear and resistance and opens them up to the beauty and sacredness of birth. To arrive at a place where they know that birth is normal, natural and do able and they are able to meet it and their babies wholeheartedly, trusting themselves and their babies and holding complete presence for the process as it unfolds.
“Be still. The quieter you become the more you can hear.”
As a craniosacral therapist I support woman and babies during the perinatal period. Craniosacral therapy during pregnancy allows a mother to access her inner resources for health, release restrictions and create balance in the body, thus helping to co-create an optimal birthing experience for her and her babe. During the post-partum period it offers the mother’s body the opportunity to reintegrate and find physical and emotional balance after birth. For babies, it promotes health and can minimise, or eliminate the effects of birth trauma by releasing restrictive patterns in the body. Craniosacral therapy is even more effective for infants when the mother is simultaneously treated.
“Let choice whisper in your ear and love murmur in your heart. Be ready. Here comes life.”
I facilitate antenatal workshops for expecting parents, these experiential, practical classes offer parents the unique opportunity to trust in the magnificence of birth in all it’s intensity. Through my personal experience of preparing for, and having 2 home births, I gained a depth of respect for the power & strength of our fearlessly and wonderfully made bodies. I learnt the value of support and the value of knowledge. Knowledge is power and that is why I love sharing that beautiful, positive births are absolutely possible and doable. Our bodies are perfectly designed to create, nurture and birth life.
Training and experience:
- Trained and certified Mama Bamba birth doula
- Doula trainer and course co-creator for Mama Bamba
- Birth educator trained through Mama Bamba
- Craniosacral therapist registered with CSTASA. Trained in functional craniosacral therapy through Integral Health
- Infant and prenatal craniosacral post graduate credit via Lori Hendrickson
- Breastfeeding support